How to Create a Modern Accent Wall With Box Trim

September 22, 2021

Dress up a small accent wall with a gorgeous sconce, dark wall color and beautiful wall trim! 

We have a small accent wall at the bottom of our basement stairs that was calling out for a little redo. It's not much, but is a focal point, as it's the first thing you see when you walk down the stairs. 

If you've been reading Thrifty Decor Chick for long, you know our basement has gotten a lot of attention this year! 

I built a HUGE 18-foot built in entertainment center on one wall, then added some beautiful crown, wall trim and accent lighting later on:
dark gray Westchester Gray basement family walls

I've always known I was going to carry the dark gray color around into our stairway landing. When I found the perfect light fixture for that small accent wall, I knew the time had come! 

This three light globe sconce pulled the whole plan together for me -- we loved the modern vibe but knew that I could still make it look cozy in our warm basement: 
three globe brass sconce
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I love how it ties into the globe sconces I added above the built ins! 

It's a similar brass color as those and the remote sconces I added around the room:
box trim on walls with large map

I could only find one before picture of this space. I had a plug in sconce, art, and my secondhand bamboo bookcase full of decor:
white spindles stained railing stairs

But after adding the bookcases on the other side of the room, it felt like it was too much right there. We have plenty of spots for accessories down there and I wanted to simplify this area.

We had to have electricity run for the sconce, which is very easy to do if you have basic electrical or wiring knowledge. If you have an outlet or switch nearby you can add a sconce with minimal or no drywall fixes.

I LOVE the light!! SO much: 
Lowe's Ellan three globe light sconce

We installed it flip flopped from the image online, just to keep the top globe away from little hands and/or out of the way if we sit underneath it (see more in a minute). 

It looked SO good already! But it needed some drama:
analytical gray with globe sconce

So I continued the beautiful Westchester Gray (from Sherwin-Williams) around the corner and it made all the difference! 

I told my husband the other day that I pray I never want to change the color of our basement walls and will be SO MUCH work. ๐Ÿ˜‚ We love this color though, so it will be a very long time from now.

I swear every time I add this color it just feels like a big, warm hug when we walk into the space: 
dark gray walls with brass light fixture

A basement or bedroom is a perfect spot for this deep color. Grays are definitely a more "cool" color, but this one leans more warm to me. 

The deep gray made a big difference but it still needed something. I'll give you one guess on what I added...trim of course!

I played around with doing something different on this little wall, but in the end decided to go with the simple trim I added to the rest of the room earlier this year. 

This wood trim is about $8 for an eight foot piece and you can find it at most large hardware stores. I gave it a coat of semi-gloss Westchester paint, then did a light sanding before moving onto the second coat: 
dust catching sanding pads

Those textured sanding pads work great for detailed projects like this!

My saw was happy to see me again! I haven't used it in MONTHS! 


The cuts are all simple 45 degree angles, so this is a great beginner project. I installed all of the trim with a nail gun. 

I got everything up and was SO happy with how it came together! Our son suggested adding a bench in this spot, which I thought was brilliant: 
modern globe sconce with bench

I love that woven bench, but it was just too dinky here. 

So instead, I grabbed the two square ottomans that we had placed at the ends of our long game table down here and placed them there instead:
Westchester Gray accent wall with brass sconce


Now they're not taking up space at the end of the table, but if we need more seating we can easily grab them.

I'm so very pleased with how this little spot came together! I just love that brass finish against the dark gray walls: 
dressing up small wall with sconce and paint

modern accent wall with decorative trim
See how I made that olive tree here!

That simple trim makes such a difference, right? 

I love how the sconce acts as art. I really wanted to simplify this corner and calm it down a bit. This worked beautifully!

Of COURSE I used a dimmer switch here, so this light dims nicely and turns into a gorgeous night light. Love it:
dark walls with white ottomans

accent wall with box trim and brass sconce

I have another project in the works for this little area that will warm it up even more. Can't wait to get started on that! 

Now that the weather is starting to turn a bit cooler, we're spending more time in this cozy basement. We hibernate down here all winter and I love it!

Have I convinced you to dress up your small walls and hallways yet? They are calling out for some special attention. :)

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  1. I always love seeing what you do in your basement. It's so beautiful and one of my favorites! Love the wall sconce!

  2. I love EVERYTHING that you decorate Sarah!! This looks terrific!

  3. Love your basement Sarah! That light is stunning!

  4. I love what you have done, but I also have a question about the area rug you have on top of your carpeting. How do you keep it flat if you happen to have a coffee table on it? I am sure you will have a great tip!!

    1. Hello Pat! I find as long as your carpet pile isn’t too thick and your rug IS thick, they work well together! A thicker carpet and/or thinner rug won’t work as well. A thin rug will curl up at the corners.

  5. That sconce is a work of art. Looks beautiful!

  6. Everything about this space is beautiful! You're one talented gal!

  7. Yes! You have convinced me to add some trim. I’m not great with saw knowledge so I have hubby putting up crown molding. Then I may move on to walls. Need advice: large room has one wall full of fireplace and flanked by book cases, 2nd wall has floor to ceiling windows with only 3. Ft to the left, 3rd wall is angled because it is side of a stair case, 4 th wall is about 10 ft wide with door way on either side. This room sits in the center of the house. Does it make sense to put wall trim like yours on just the last (4th) wall? Or maybe the 3rd and 4th wall? Not certain it looks right to do on just a couple walls. Thanks. Love your house.

    1. If I’m imagining it correctly I think the 3rd and 4th walls for sure! ๐Ÿ˜Š

    2. If I’m imagining it correctly I think the 3rd and 4th walls for sure! ๐Ÿ˜Š

  8. You are a stinking genius ๐Ÿ‘

  9. I love looking at your projects… What a great eye you have! Thanks for sharing ๐Ÿ˜Š


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